Getting a little bored with the sound of your old six-string? Wish the thing could sound like a twelve-string guitar? How about a bass? Well, then the Electro Harmonix Micro POG is the right pedal for you! If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Micro POG is a very user friendly octave pedal that can easily be used to not only add the octave notes to what your already playing (so as to make a regular guitar sound like a twelve-string), but you can also simply convert your notes without adding anything extra, perfect for making a guitar sound like your standard bass. Speaking of the bass, the Micro POG works just as good there too in the same way. It is essentially the little brother of the original POG and although it may not have as much versatility, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better octave pedal at a similar price. The way octave pedals work is pretty simple; the pedal takes the signal (one note or an entire chord) and simply adds an octave up or down depending on the settings selected. Anyways, read on and check out some of the Micro POG’s finer points.
The first thing you’ll notice when you take this guy out of the box, besides the pedal itself, is the included AC adaptor. Those familiar with buying effects pedals can tell you that more often than not, it’s a separate buy, but it makes perfect sense with the Micro POG. Unlike most pedals that have the option of being powered by either an adaptor or a 9 volt battery, the POG can only be used with the AC, which isn’t all that bad since they did include it with it. Anyways, power supply aside, the pedal itself feels modest in weight compared to similar sized pedals – not too heavy, not too light – although the diecast chassis feels very well built and strong. You might find a manual inside like I did, but in case you didn’t, don’t worry, this pedal is as straight forward as it comes.
There pedal itself consists of three knobs, one input jack, two output jacks and a click switch to turn the effect on and off. The single input jack is where you connect your cable to from your guitar to the pedal. The two output jacks on the other hand come in dry and wet. The wet “Effect Out” jack is your money-maker in that this is the jack that will send the effect-laden signal to your amp. The “Dry Out” on the other hand outputs the signal raw, meaning no effect whatsoever as if plugging in straight to the amp. This comes in handy for playing through two amps – one with effects and one without - also helpful if you’re doing some stereo recording on a music program. The “Dry Out” is the raw signal; “Effect Out” has the signal with effects (as well as the raw signal, technically speaking). Simple, right?
The three knobs are as straight forward as you can get. You have your Dry Knob, your Sub Octave Knob and your Octave Up Knob. The dry knob is essentially the volume of the raw signal. The sub octave knob lets you add an octave below the notes you’re playing while the octave up adds an octave above the notes. Turn either higher for more presence, lower for less… pretty much like an effect volume knob.
The Sound of the Electro Harmonix Micro POG
Those of you out there who just have to have everything right in their effects pedal chain will be happy to know that the Micro POG is clean and silent with absolutely no hum or signal distortion whatsoever. Put it in the front of your effects lineup, in the middle, or at the end; the Micro POG will not give you any signal loss or degradation, as can be the case with some pedals. The sound of the effect is exactly what you should expect from an octave pedal, but a fair warning to those who have yet to use one of these; If you’re looking for natural tones, that is to say that your guitar will still sound like a raw electric guitar, albeit with added notes an octave up or down, then you will be in for an unpleasant surprise. As veterans of octave pedals will tell you, although you can make it sound like a twelve string, eighteen string, etc, it won’t sound like a clean one but instead, like one with a bit of a digital effect to it, so those looking to make their guitar sound like a real twelve-string should either buy an actual one or invest in an acoustic signal generator pedal to calm down the synthetic sound. Just think of it as using synth organ instead of a grand piano and you will have no surprises. I did find that adding a bit of distortion will drastically reduce the digital sound, especially when trying to make your guitar mimic a bass.
Those of you who do know what they’re getting into with octave pedals will love how well the Micro POG does its job. From my experience, messing around between the sub octave and octave up knobs will pretty much always produce a nice rich and flavorful tone. Seriously, I could find something I like on pretty much any combination and it always sounded nice and full. Add just a little bit of effect and you will get a nice bit of depth to your tone. Add a whole lot of effect and you will get some crazy sounds. You can even make it sound like an electric organ when you put the octave up at about 3 O’clock, the sub octave at 11 and the dry at a full 12. Probably the best part of the pedal is that it keeps PERFECT tracking. Play as fast as you want and the pedal effects will keep up with absolutely no glitch, something that can’t be said about other octave pedals in this price range.
For the price, it will be pretty hard to find an octave pedal that can do as much as this one with the same quality of sound. Most octave pedals below $220 usually can only do either octave up or down and will probably not feature the dry output jack. While not as versatile as its big brother the Micro POG benefits from its much better looking price tag as well as its dummy proof execution. Those in the market for an octave pedal and know essentially what an octave pedal will give you will find the Electro Harmonix Micro POG a great that will do its job perfectly.